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3 Endangered Languages Preserved on YouTube (Video Slideshow)

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The thought of languages, like animal species, going extinct and than disappearing forever, is alarming. A Chronicle of Higher Education article about a session on endangered languages at a recent annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science notes that, despite these new online technologies and efforts, discussion about endangered languages was “sorrowful at times, with some researchers describing having to watch languages, and the culture stored in them, fade out.”

Many thousands of languages have been lost to time, like that of the ancient Minoans (who lived from about 3500 – 1000 B.C.E.); all that we know of their language is from tablets written in Linear A, a writing system that has yet to be deciphered. Let us hope that the efforts of Noori, Harrison and others can make the most of the latest technologies to keep endangered languages alive.

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Photo by Sébastien Lapointe (Sébastien Lapointe, Iqaluit, Nunavut) via Wikimedia Commons

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52 comments

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4:29PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

Kevin says:
"Persons will not understand each other, if almost everyone speaks different language."

well, sure, if every person was babbling something different there would be no communication and I'd agree with you.
Those of us in language revitalization are not trying to REPLACE dominant languages. Its important today, to communicate in common languages that surround us ,Mandarin, Spanish, English, Russian. Nobody in Lang. Revit. is trying to stop dominant languages. What we are saying is to lose ones OWN language is to lose ones cultural perspective and much wisdom that comes with those cultures that have subsisted for thousands of years.

3:38PM PDT on Jun 29, 2013

No offense, we cannot preserve all languages. If there are too many languages, then the world will be confusing. Persons will not understand each other, if almost everyone speaks different language.

10:45AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

when an indigenous language dies, a whole way of perceiving the world dies with it. The tongues of colonizers thrive because they are built on ideologies of supremacy and conquest.
The language "wandat" of my ancestors is only now being slowly revived, and with it awakens a whole other species of thought process. If our tribal leadership really understood how our identities are embedded within our language, there would be no hesitation in promoting and creating nest schools for children to be immersed back in. However sadly so many of our own tribes have embraced so much of the conqueror world view, and have become so profit driven that our indigenous languages are given about the same status as a dreamcatcher curio.

7:13AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Languages are living entities that grow, adapt with time according to community's needs and have interactive relations with its speakers. But like all things that live, they die also. It is a great idea to preserve dying languages for future generations even if it is only going to be used to compare linguistics. We still learn Latin, Classical Greek, Egyptian Hieroglyphs that help us understand the birth, the evolution and the changes over time of our language.

1:21PM PDT on Jun 12, 2012

love it!

8:32PM PST on Feb 26, 2012

The first step in putting a halt to losing any other language or culture is the recognition of that language and culture as being equal to all others and a necessary part of the ONE HUMAN FAMILY. When we climb back down from the pedestal and meet our brothers and sisters eye to eye and see that we are ALL the same ESSENTIAL LIVING, BREATHING BEINGS on a human journey across time and space, then we can begin to allow others the RIGHT to get their needs met while we, at the same time get ours met, NEEDS, not GREED!

Once these languages and cultures are gone, we can only vaguely remember them in stories and legends, often inaccurately and with prejudice. We, too, will one day be eradicated and remembered in this same way, because what goes around also comes around.

We have the power to enrich our lives tremendously by celebrating the story of each sojourner here; who wants another version of ROCKY and his seriously over-rated FIGHTING MOVIES, when we can watch masterpieces not on film before our eyes?!

7:52PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

Agree with Virginia P.

7:40PM PST on Feb 24, 2012

Thanks

8:23AM PST on Feb 23, 2012

interesting, thanks.

11:40AM PST on Feb 21, 2012

Interesting article

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